a luxury hotel can't call itself complete without the
onsite presence of a swanky signature spa. But spa therapies
are only one small part of an in-depth wellness program.
Physical fitness, mindfulness and nutrition are also
essential. The escapes we've chosen embrace holistic
philosophies, with specially designed programs to cultivate
the body, mind and spirit. These places are about more
than just going on holiday. They are about good health.
The world is fast-paced, and most of us find it hard
to slow down and really nurture ourselves. So check
out this list, hop on a plane and let the experts do
the work for you.
Miraval, Life in Balance
far as this resort's
philosophy is concerned, the name says it all. This
destination is about balancing your life. You're here
to do more than just get into shape. You're here—in
a gorgeous desert setting outside Tucson—to focus
on your life's purpose. We recommend The Ultimate Package,
which gives you unlimited access to all scheduled activities
(desert landscape photography hikes, drumming, meditation,
petroglyph walks and horsemanship classes), as well
as a spa service or round of golf per night. Feeling
stressed out, undertaking a life transition or working
on your weight? Balanced Living Programs (for stays
of four days or more) combine a customized itinerary
with the resort's core elements of healthy eating, exercise
and the mind/body connection.
Canyon Ranch is considered among the granddaddies of
the United States' "wellness as lifestyle"
resorts. This outpost is located in the beautiful Berkshires, and the only
thing you might find stressful here is the array of
choices. Stays begin with a basic three to seven-day
package, which includes a selection of 45 complimentary
fitness classes daily (as varied as Tai Chi hikes and
Broadway dancing), and allowances for health and spa
services—there are more than 225 options. As well,
there are lectures, workshops and cooking demonstrations.
You can supplement your experience with focused health
packages such as Ayurvedic or Stress Management. Sure,
it may seem overwhelming at first, but with professionals
on hand to guide you, inner serenity is just a check-in
Hart & Hind
in Texas is super-sized, including the attitude toward
health. In the Lone Star state, Hart
& Hind invites you to get into shape in majestic,
wide open spaces. Emphasizing the physical (and often
rigorous) aspect of wellness, this ranch-style retreat
spans 5,250 Hill Country acres. A personal assessment
will get you started on your week-long stay, helping
you shape a strategy based around hiking the hills and
hollows of Frio Canyon. A daily schedule may include
stretching, boot camp, aqua conditioning or power hiking.
There are also special activities such as horseback
riding and bread making. And if all the natural beauty
isn't enough to soothe your mind, a meditation hour
is offered each afternoon.
The Island Experience
First things first: this place is not as luxurious as
the others on this list. In fact, it's downright rustic.
Opened in the spring of 2004, it combines yoga, meditation,
nutrition and outdoor adventure exercise, such as rainforest
hiking and sea kayaking. If you're coming here, prepared
to be physically challenged. That is, when you're not
taking yoga classes, getting your daily massage or taking
classes in painting or capoeira (a graceful blend of
Brazilian dance and martial arts). Seven-day programs
are designed to detox your body and destress your mind.
They are offered out of the Eco Dive & Resort Lodge
in the Atlantic rainforest overlooking the ocean. All
rooms have private verandahs, and dinner is served by
BodyHoliday at LeSport
all-inclusive holiday. It's a sybarite's dream come
true. But what does this really mean? At the lavish
BodyHoliday at LeSport, it starts with meals, fitness
classes, a spa treatment each day and green fees at
a nearby golf course. The variety of complimentary activities
on offer will leave you speechless: archery, fencing,
massage, scuba diving, rainforest hikes... Supplement
them with one of the resort's focused Holidays, Master
Class Retreats (Kundalina Yoga, Urban Tai Chi) or weekly
retreats: Increasing Your Intuitive Currency, Stress
Management. Consult with a BodyGuide to tailor your
stay so you can achieve the BodyHoliday goal of developing
a quality of life to take back with you out into the
Pura Vida Retreat & Spa
Kripalu. Tantra. If you're looking to learn more about
yoga, this is the place. Yoga plays a central role in
the wellness programs offered here. Daily classes are
included in the Mind/Body/Spirit Adventure Week (along
with a complimentary massage and eco-adventure tours),
and numerous weekly programs focus on yoga—Thai
Yoga Therapy Massage, Anusara Yoga Goddess Retreat,
etc. You can even take yoga training classes. Optional
activities include meditation, coffee field hikes and
salsa dancing. Accommodations range from luxury suites
to picturesque "tentalows." The natural beauty
of Costa Rica provides the backdrop for this mountaintop
estate, which overlooks the Irazú, Barva and
Poás volcanoes and the Central Valley all the
way to San José.
sacred locale—the Himalayan mountains overlooking
the Ganges River—is an ideal site for a wellness
retreat. And if the magnificent landscape isn't enough
for you, this resort also resides in a palace estate,
the former residence of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal.
Along with Raj-era décor, Tantric art and spa
cuisine, you'll find The Wellness Centre. It is staffed
by nutritionists, physicians and spa therapists who
use a combination of traditional Indian and modern Western
techniques, many of which incorporate Himalayan spring
waters. Programs include the three or five night Ananda
Wellness Bliss and three, five or seven night Ananda
Sanjeevni, which builds on Bliss's spa and wellness
activities with customized yoga sessions and Ayurvedic
mind and body therapies.
Delphi Mountain Resort & Spa
eyes are smiling on this gem of a wellness retreat in
County Galway. It's surrounded by the incredible beauty
of Killary Harbour and Connemara National Park, and
the concept is to unite this natural setting with fitness,
mind/body therapy and spa pampering. Each of the two
basic programs—Health Spa and Great Outdoors—features
its own complimentary activities, ranging from Tai Chi
and herbal massage to sea kayaking and dolphin watching.
There are also specialized packages such as Spa Indulgence
and Relax and Destress. Architecture of native stone,
ash, oak and elm works in harmony with the environment.
Peregrine restaurant's all-natural cuisine emphasizes
local seafood and produce from the resort's own greenhouses.
Rancho la Puerta
interested in the history of the wellness movement will
love this place, which dates back to 1940. Founders
Edmond and Deborah Szekely were holistic health forerunners,
preaching the threats of cholesterol and processed foods
long before such denouncements became vogue. Just an
hour's drive south of San Diego, Rancho la Puerto offers
self-designed weekly stays—guest briefings guide
you through the Six Facets of Fitness (Cardiovascular
Workouts, Personal Rewards, etc.), which will provide
the framework for your stay. There are also specialty
weeks, such as Mind-Body-Spirit Growth and Tai Chi in
Paradise. Lodgings are done in charming casita style,
and the kitchens are served by the six-acre Rancho Tres
Estrellas organic farm.
Chiva-Som International Health Resort
royal resort of Hua Hin is one of Thailand's quieter
beach retreats, making it a perfect setting for a wellness
holiday. Here you'll find a program for just about everything:
Holistic Health, Natural Detox and Personal Discovery,
to name but a few. Professionals in aromatherapy, naturopathy,
acupuncture and more rely on a blend of traditional
Eastern rituals and contemporary Western techniques.
An initial consultation helps shape your stay, particularly
if you opt for a basic Wellness Retreat, in which you
choose from pampering, fitness and holistic health treatments.
Among the many choices are Thai massage, Oriental foot
rituals, Qi Gong and Watsu. Accommodations are in picturesque
pavilions—request a room with a view of the sea.